Stage 9 of the Tour de France

Canadian cyclist Michael Woods achieved the most significant victory of his career at the Tour de France on Sunday, showcasing a solo performance on a legendary climb. Meanwhile, Tadej Pogacar, a two-time champion, closed the gap with the overall leader, Jonas Vingegaard.
Reflecting on his achievement, Woods expressed, "Winning a stage at the Tour is something I've always aspired to and talked about, but until now, I hadn't been able to accomplish it. Finally, I did it." Representing the Israel-Premier Tech team, Woods, from Toronto and grew up in Ottawa, had no intentions of battling for the general classification. He joined an early breakaway that the lead group formed. In the final kilometers, Woods caught up with American cyclist Matteo Jorgenson, who had broken away.

With just 500 meters remaining before the summit, the 36-year-old Woods left Jorgenson behind. They conquered the Puy de Dome, a famous volcanic crater in the Massif Central region of south-central France. The climb hadn't been featured in the Tour for 35 years. Earlier in the race, a group of 14 experienced riders successfully broke away, gaining a lead of over 16 minutes. The peloton initially kept them in check but eventually allowed them to widen the gap.

Jorgenson launched a series of attacks during the breakaway and created a significant lead with 47 kilometers to go. The young American continued to push hard on the roads leading to the final climb but was eventually caught by Woods. It is worth noting that Woods' teammate Hugo Houle secured a stage victory in last year's Tour, and Woods finished third on that occasion. Before Houle's win, Canada had yet to celebrate a stage victory since Steve Bauer's in the opening stage of the 1988 Tour.

Notably, Bauer now serves as the sporting director at Israel-Premier Tech. Woods, Houle, and Guillaume Boivin make up the Canadian group on Israel-Premier Tech's Tour de France team. While Pogacar and Vingegaard, the leading contenders, followed far behind the breakaway, they demonstrated their superior form. During the final climb, Pogacar made a decisive move, attacking with 1.5 kilometers to go and further accelerating on the steepest gradients. Although Vingegaard lost ground, he remained composed and limited his loss to eight seconds, retaining the yellow jersey.